The Cumberland-Dauphin-Harrisburg Transit Authority (a.k.a. Capital Area Transit, or CAT) was formed in 1973 after the dissolution of the Harrisburg Railways Company. When that company ceased operations, the local municipalities, in order to continue to provide mass transit, formed the Authority under the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s Municipal Authorities Act of 1945, as amended. Formed by the Cumberland County and Dauphin County Commissioners and the City of Harrisburg, CAT was designated as the public transportation provider in the greater Harrisburg area.
The Authority is governed by a Board of Directors who are appointed by the three municipalities, and who each serve a term of five years (at which time they may be reappointed by their respective municipalities). The Board meets each month on the last Thursday to set policy and provide guidance to the staff. Committees of the Board meet on an ad hoc basis dependent upon the activity occurring within the Authority.
Being a public transit agency, we are a not-for-profit entity. We receive about 35% total operating costs from the farebox, that is fares that our passengers pay to ride CAT. The remainder of the operational funds to provide service as well as capital funds comes from Cumberland and Dauphin Counties and the City of Harrisburg and the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation. Additional funding for capital expenditures is received from the Federal Transit Administration.
CAT currently has two divisions — a Fixed Route Bus Division and a Shared Ride/Paratransit Division. There are approximately 195 employees in two locations: the majority are housed at 901 North Cameron Street, Harrisburg; there is a small Shared Ride Division office in Elizabethville, in northern Dauphin County.
In late 1999 the Authority’s Board of Directors voted unanimously to pursue the vision of bringing passenger rail to Central Pennsylvania. This decision gives the Authority a new direction and will provide growth opportunities well into the 21st century.